One major point I keep hearing is that advertising agency specialization is key to breaking out of the me-too agency positioning malaise. Specialization is one way to get to a more powerful (i.e. relevant, impactful, efficient) new business program.
In my Advertising Week interview with Ian Beavis, Nielsen’s EVP Automotive, on how agencies can win an auto account, he mentions that most advertising agencies do not act as a business solution partner,
“You rarely hear of an agency being a business solution provider, as it just doesn’t sound cool or creative. A good agency solves a client’s business issues and is a partner. Very few qualify and even fewer truly embrace this challenge.”
In another for Agency Post, Rich Sullivan, the CEO of Alabama’s RedSquare Agency, discusses how RedSquare has specialized in casino marketing with growing success.
I’ll let you know when both of these are published.
Time For Beer
On to today. I was looking at a new list of Seattle’s largest agencies and noted that Taphandles, the fourth largest agency in Seattle, specializes in, get this, beer. I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard of Taphandles and I am just down the road in Portland. I was intrigued.
“We know beer. Logos, taphandles, signs, displays, package/label/web design, glassware and all things POS… Let us help you sell more beer.”
There are a few things that work with this positioning. A key factor is that Taphandles has zeroed in on a fast growing category. Here are some stats from the Brewers Association.
- Growth of the craft brewing industry in 2012 was 15% by volume and 17% by dollars compared to growth in 2011 of 13% by volume and 15% by dollars.
- Craft brewer retail dollar value in 2012 was an estimated $10.2 billion, up from $8.7 billion in 2011.
- The craft brewing sales share in 2012 was 6.5% by volume and 10.2% by dollars.
- 2,347 craft breweries operated for some or all of 2012, comprised of 1,132 brewpubs, 1,118 microbreweries and 97 regional craft breweries.
- As of March 18, 2013, the Brewers Association is aware of 409 brewery openings in 2012 (310 microbreweries and 99 brewpubs) and 43 brewery closings (18 microbreweries and 25 brewpubs.)
Taphandles is well positioned to, yes, tap into the market due to its strong support for their beer expert positioning. They started out designing and manufacturing taphandles for most of the major beer brands. I love their concise story that has to grab the attention of beer clients.
“Since we opened our doors in 1999, we have worked with almost every beer brand worldwide, which has given us comprehensive understanding of competitive landscape, and appreciation for what it takes to build a successful brand. This experience makes us uniquely able to help breweries tell their stories effectively through the brands we design, and the merchandise we make.”
Clearly Taphandles has grown into a full-service provider by building on their taphandle design experience. But, there is something instructive here for all agencies.
Pick a growing category, learn it, own it and then you’ll be able to hammer it on your home page.